Showing posts from 2022

A view from the front (seat)

It was in November 2021 that Rachel Tillas took her first steps into the world of ultrarunning by competing in the MMTR 50. But it started in July of 2021 when Belinda, Rachel's mom, messaged to tell me Rachel had converted from the 400m distance run so quickly in high school to a marathon. But more importantly, as one of Rachel's high school coaches, Belinda thought I should know that Rachel had mentioned trying Hellgate one day. My response? "Alrighty then. She needs to start going with me to the mountains. This makes me happy." And to the mountains we went. I was the tour guide and Rachel my companion. She was bright and mature, contributing to great conversations despite the almost 40 year age difference. But soon enough, I did her no favors by asking her to join me on no more than a handful of other runs. I consistently held her young, spry self back. I was too slow to be any good to her. With colleagues at the hospital who ran fast, strong and long, I found mys

A walk in the park and a pink finish line

By the time I finish most races, I've figured out at least the first paragraph of my post-race story. This was one of the few where the story twisted in a big way by the time I finished the 3.5 hour drive home. But let's start at the beginning. With cut-offs harder to make and the felt-pressure to train oppressive, my first foray into timed racing occurred in May of this year. With no threat of being pulled from a race because I was too slow, my mantra became "Run a little, walk a lot." I was relatively happy doing that for about 22 hours and 50 minutes, stopping shy of 24 hours since I had miraculously clinched second place and would likely not have been able to complete another loop in the remaining time to add it to my total. So when my friends, Rick and Michelle Gray from TN, shortly thereafter invited me to run the last edition of the Buffalo Mountain Endurance Run , I signed up immediately. Knowing from experience that a lot of ground can still be covered by a p

Hungry and struggling?

  (An excerpt from The EveryDay: 366 Real Stories for Real People by   Rebekah Trittipoe)   Picture this. You are in the wide-open African savannah. Mountains rise across the plains, tall, wispy grass swaying as the breezes blow across the hot, dry landscape between here and there. A herd of elephants gather to the right, gazelles bound across the plain with antelope and barbary stags grazing nearby. Down by the watering hole, hippos wallow in the mud to fend off the heat, and crocodiles maintain their submarined pose in hopes of capturing unsuspecting prey. But across the way is that pride of lions laying in the shade of a particularly large baobab tree. The old wise males seem oblivious to the antics of the juvenile lion cubs, while the lionesses maintain constant vigil. The lions are near the top of the predator ladder, few other animals being much of a threat. The young lions have learned their hunting skills from the older lions. Speed and agility play in their favor. More time

Excuses: Is there a lion lurking outside your door?

(An excerpt from  "The EveryDay: 366 Real Stories for Real People " by Rebekah Trittipoe) It is 8:30 p.m., darkness has arrived, and I am sitting here on the couch having a conversation with myself. I did not run today, nor did I yesterday or the day before. I had been doing so well with consistency; six to seven runs each week. What is happening? Yes, my morning routine was messed up because I was Addyson’s taxi back to her mom. Then it was pressing work on a writing project, a phone call, volleyball practice, and prep for a meeting tomorrow. Then home, clean up the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, prepare supper, clean up, and head to Wal-Mart for needed items. And oh, yes, it is thundering and promising to downpour outside. How could I possibly squeeze in a run? Sounds like lame excuses to me. I should know. I excuse-make a lot! After I come up with the excuse, I rationalize away my decision to appease the inevitable guilt I feel. What a sorry mess I am!  Recently, I read

Run a little. Walk a lot.

I was on a mission. Mind you, a mission is not a goal. A mission grows roots that reach to the depths, providing an anchor to render the mission immovable. Let's not confuse a mission with a goal. Sometimes the goals we set   (Read the blog post) are not completely within our control. We set our sights on a big win, a personal record, or a championship trophy. The weather is brutal, the trail is a quagmire, or our opponent pulls off a once-in-a-lifetime race. We fail at reaching our goal. That never feels good, which is why understanding our mission is so critical. When I signed up for the Black Mountain Monster 24-Hour race (BBM), I forced myself to contemplate my mission rather than set a finite goal. After what I saw as a failure at the 2021 Yeti 100-miler  (Read the blog post) , I really thought I was done with racing after almost 30 years of the long stuff. But I suppose Black Mountain become a way of doing penance for quitting at mile 62.  The mission? Simple. "Run a li

10 reasons to be dead last

I swept the 35 miles of the Promise Land 50K trail. If you have a picture of a white-haired old gal with broom in hand whisking away sticks and stones, that's not it. Not that the white-haired old gal is wrong. It's simply the broom part is not even close. A trail sweep is a runner whose job it is to stay behind the last competitor, taking down the plastic streamers that mark the way. The obvious reason is to have the course de-marked at the conclusion of the race. A less obvious cause is to deal with any human carnage that may occur: a runner who gets in trouble and may even need medical attention. My job is to do what it takes to stay with the runner and get him or her to safety. Now that we got that definition out of the way, allow me a few minutes to lay down my top ten reasons to run a race without any hope of a personal best or age-group award. Sweeping is a task that necessarily demands last place. 10. The clock does not apply to me. When a race begins, the clock starts